Media Blackout of Police Shooting in Austin. FREE PICKLE NOW

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A week ago the Austin Police Department shot a black man nine times, then claim he pointed a gun at them. Lawrence Parrish affectionately known to the community as Pickle, the man the police did their damnedist to try and kill was actually unarmed according to his mother. His family was denied visitation and now he lays bleeding in Dell Valle Jail fighting for his life. Pickle has had body parts removed due to this shooting without his consent or his families consent and is being treated as an inmate instead of a patient who is on the brink. Our sworn duty is to serve the people and this means that Lawrence must not fight alone.  It is no surprise to us that APD tried to murder another unarmed black man, it did not surprise us to hear that they planted a riffle near his body. If their story was true this would not change the fact that Lawrence did nothing to deserve this, the very same pigs who protect the KKK, white lives matter and the Neo-Nazi alt-right have a track record of murdering black people. These pigs have received paid vacation in the form “administrative leave”, a reward for their bloodthirsty, racist and anti-people activity.

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Our hearts go out to the family who held a fundraiser today Easter Sunday in Givens Park in Austin’s east side, and of course, our rage goes out to APD the courts and the prisons who remain a vessel for modern day lynching, mass murder and slavery. Originally the APD had the nerve to state that Pickle fired at the pigs, this lie was proven false by a basic test on the riffle. Time will show that the pigs are also lying about Pikle having the riffle. The people demand that this does not be swept under the rug with the current media blackout since Pickles case has only been reported by networks who has consistently pushed the narrative of the pigs. We push the people’s narrative and tell the pigs to meet us outside because we are ready to do battle for pickle, we call on all to protest, organize, link up and apply the pressure to break this story and rally around the family. We ask that those who can afford it make a donation to help the family persist against this travesty.

Conveniently for them the police have no video of the attempted murder of Pickle. We are expected to take their lying ass corrupt word for it. The pigs have already lied first about being fired upon then they tell us they have no video, then they lie again claiming that the Pickle was shot “a few times” in what world is NINE TIMES a few? The media which exists to reproduce the mostly white ruling class ways of thinking has swallowed this concoction without blinking even though they have had to back track as the lies unfold.  What is worse still is they expect us to swallow this shit too. Like in many cases when the police shoot an unarmed man they have the nerve to charge their victim with assault. In reality it was the police who attempted not only assault but murder. It was Pig Paul Bianchi, Pig  Jordan Wagstaff, Pig Dane O’Neill, and Pig Marcos Johnson. All four of them tried to kill Pickle but they failed, he lives and we must pull out all stops to free him.

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The police exist in our communities like an occupying army, they are the first line of defense for ruling class white supremacist capitalism, with their deeds they bring death to the people and break up our families. We must state clearly that this war was waged on black people by the police, black people are already at war with this system and need a peoples army which can defend and fight. In short we need liberation. There are bad cops and there is bad training but we cannot write this off to just those two particular characteristics of the police. We must dig deeper, look at the fact that the police started as slave catchers and have functioned as that ever since. A good man in a slaughter house still has blood on his hands this system is not about the character traits of individuals within it but about its function as a whole.

Upcoming actions include a phone jam of the jail which has been called for by Serve The People Austin and others, a protest Thursday outside of Dell Valley Jail (details to be announced). You can get involved by reaching out to us directly or contacting Serve The People Austin.

Phone jam info on the STP page:

https://www.facebook.com/servethepeopleaustin/

Donate to his family here:

https://www.gofundme.com/support-for-lawrence-aka-pickle

For an anti-imperialist May Day!

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May Day 2017!

For the past two years we have participated in a coalition of organizers that promotes working-class militancy in Austin on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. We call on the working class and all revolutionaries in Austin to unite on May 1st at 6:00 pm at the corner of West 4th St and Guadalupe near the park to oppose US imperialism and recent ICE raids connected to the proto-fascist Trump administration. The workers of Austin have a shared interest with the workers of the world, the people facing deportation across the US, and the people of Syria. If we oppose deportations and demand that refugees must be made welcome here then we absolutely must oppose the imperialist war in Syria, which creates refugees and torments a sovereign country. In the world today, US imperialism and its corporate monopoly capitalist ruling class are the number-one enemy.

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US imperialism is the number 1 terrorist! 

 

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May Day is international

We extend our heartfelt greetings to our comrades the world over who will rally against capitalism on behalf of our class: Jugendwiderstand in Germany has called for the workers and youth in the working class district of Neukolln in Berlin to assemble and demonstrate and we wish to send them our salutations and comradely greetings from Austin, TX. We also wish to extend our greetings and solidarity to the comrades of Red Guards Los Angeles, Red Guards Philadelphia, Kansas City Revolutionary Collective, Queen City Maoist Collective, San Marcos Revolutionary Front, Dallas Antifa, as well as our comrades in Houston, New Orleans, Mobile,  and elsewhere this May 1st. Comrades across Europe, Asia, and Africa embody the slogan it is right to rebel as they prepare for a day of festive militancy on May 1st. Revolutionary communism does not ask this system nicely—we do not play softball with the police and their collaborators.

We insist that International Workers’ Day must not be stripped of its militant character. There are those  who wish for nothing more than a spot at the table of the ruling class. They desire, like all vampires, the blood of the people, and seek to get it by acting in ways acceptable to the system. Their NGOs as well as revisionist organizations shun all resistance and dampen all rebellion. They equate the inevitable repression that necessarily results from resisting ruling-class interests with abject failure. They are the ruling class dressed as workers, and we must draw firm demarcations between them and ourselves. While these revisionists might speak in the language of revolution, what they are saying is “it is wrong to rebel.” They do not dare to struggle, hence they do not deserve to win.

Revisionism and social democracy as well as the NGO charity complex will (when it suits them) call for an “anti-war” movement. Yet history has firmly demonstrated the cruel limitations of being “anti-war.” We call unequivocally and unwaveringly for an anti-imperialist movement in Austin. We must stress that there are two types of war: the first type is the imperialist war of aggression, which is right now being escalated against Syria (and continuously waged against Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan), and the second type of war is waged by oppressed nations and revolutionary people the world over—a righteous war against imperialism, chiefly US imperialism. This second type is war that we must support—the people’s war in India and the war against US imperialism for democracy in the Philippines as well as wars waged by other nations and liberation forces that lack a socialist character but nonetheless serve the interest of the broad masses by halting or dealing blows to US imperialism. All these wars must be supported. The world proletarian revolution is in the upswing, and the fall of revisionism and its overall discrediting have been consolidated. Maoism is the way forward.

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Antifascist bloc at J 20

We encourage all antifascists, revolutionaries, and comrades to participate in the planned event be they Maoists, anarchists, or any other genuine anti-capitalists, anti-imperialists, or anti-fascists.

1917-2017

This International Workers’ Day is a special occasion: this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, led by the great teacher of Marxism Comrade Lenin. It is Lenin who provided the world with the revolutionary analysis that imperialism is the highest and final stage of the capitalist system. This system has nowhere to go but down. While it steels itself against setbacks and continues plundering the world, we proletarian revolutionaries ready forces to take part in the next great wave of proletarian revolution. We owe a great debt of honor to Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who proved concretely that socialist revolution is possible. Lenin warned of world wars as a result of imperialist countries trying to re-divide the world among them, and it was Lenin who turned the imperialist war between Germany and Russia (part of WWI) into a civil war in which the working class took power. 100 years of Bolshevik revolution have provided the working class with sharp weapons that became sharper still in the struggles in China led by Chairman Mao and the struggles in Peru led by Chairman Gonzalo, who synthesized Marxism-Leninism into Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, proving Mao’s contributions to be universally applicable. None of this would have been possible without the lessons drawn from the Great October Socialist Revolution.

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Long live the teachings of Lenin

May Day goes back to the Chicago Haymarket martyrs of 1886 who fought and died to establish the eight-hour work day and was taken up as International Workers’ Day by revolutionaries the world over. International Workers’ Day was carried out illegally as a day of celebratory resistance in Russia before the October Revolution, after which it was legalized. May Day of 1917 was boycotted by the reactionary Mensheviks and other social-democrats (liberals!) who in their current incarnation here in Austin seek not to boycott May Day but to empty it of all its militant content and make it just another hollow display acceptable to the ruling class and the state. For the past two years we have helped to make May 1st a day to remember in Austin, and we know full well that this would not be possible without, first and foremost, the masses themselves, and secondly comrades in other organizations. It is our honor to carry on in this tradition and to continue waving the red flag of revolution!

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RGA leading  May 1st demonstration in 2015

1917–2017 — May the red flag never drop!

Fight ICE with fire!

US Imperialism out of Syria!

-Red Guards Austin, 2017

On Identity Opportunism

Postmodernism and its influence on the communist movement in the imperialist center

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“We have come to the place where I told you you will see the grieving peoples who have lost the good of the intellect.”—Dante

What is common to all people in hell is that their intellect is now permanently overwhelmed by their narrow self-serving worldviews which can never lead them to the truth.

Real unity is established only on the basis of the interests of the proletariat in proletarian revolution. Narrow self-interest and subjectivism are two persistent errors that communists must steel themselves against, yet from the day we are born we are encouraged by all the poisons of bourgeois society to adopt a worldview that is not in our true class interests, a suicidal ideology that encourages us to place ourselves as disconnected individuals at center stage, where all human interaction and all analysis is degraded to being guided by the slogan “what do I get out of it?” Everyone in the project of revolutionary communism contends with changing this, remolding the world and ourselves in the process.

Maoism is not armed identity politics

Postmodernism, though it can trace its roots to over a century back, in its present garb, it draws extensively from the philosophies of Nietzsche, the philosophical father-figure of Hitler’s fascism.

Postmodernism got a major boost due to the intellectual vacuum resulting from the temporary set-back to communism, resulting from the reversals in the Soviet Union and China, and a retreat of the national liberation movements that witnessed an upsurge in the 1960s and the 1970s. In the resulting atmosphere of pessimism, postmodernism found thousands of takers even from the ranks of the Marxists, demoralized by the setbacks.”—Siraj

In this process Siraj describes here, postmodernism without a doubt established hegemony in the left academic centers within the imperialist countries, becoming the default framework of analysis in most social movements and permeating online spaces and social media. It is a poisoned apple that the desperate reach for wherever there is not a readily accessible revolutionary method for analyzing and contextualizing the various specific oppressions that specific groups face.

One of the main forms postmodernism takes in leftist circles is identity politics. As we use it here, the term “identity politics” refers to a method for analyzing the world that puts identity as principal over political line. That is, it treats the opinions expressed by individuals who face oppression as the indisputable truth. It should go without saying that this method of analysis denies reliable access to the truth by throwing out the possibility that the opinion of the individual or group in question could be contradicted by a scientific analysis of capitalism-imperialism, as informed by a deep and broad examination of the facts of history.

Maoism, in its analysis of the dialectical relationship between the economic base and the superstructure, understands that class oppression causes and is influenced by a number of identities. While these identities are formed in the ferment of a white-supremacist and patriarchal society, it is a defeatist error to build a politics principally on these identities. Thus, while identities can inform a political line, what is principal must be the political line itself and not the identity. In this regard all forms of “identity politics” must be criticized and uprooted in the interest of a materialist analysis and a communist politic. Maoism recognizes the existence of specific and overlapping oppressions in the context of a nuanced class analysis and an analysis of class struggle.

Since the beginning of the end of the communist ebb that Siraj described, there has been a rise in interest around communism, not only in a more or less conscious response to the beginning of the Trump administration and the shortcomings of the Democratic Party but also more broadly due to the material conditions of US imperialism and the rise in popular right-wing ideology caused by a crisis of neoliberalism. These material conditions offer an opportunity to win sections of the masses over to MLM. At the same time, in the absence of the Maoist party we cannot offer sufficient political education to every person who gravitates toward communism. Due to these objective and subjective factors, many who call themselves Maoists or who claim adherence to MLM have deep misunderstandings and confusion about the very ideology they have come to identify with.

In this paper we can only concern ourselves with US conditions, but we feel that this analysis may prove useful for other imperialist countries where postmodernism and other bourgeois ideologies have held hegemonic influence over academics and college students. This hegemonic influence has penetrated almost every online space, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Tumblr, which like all major media under capitalism are controlled by the ruling class and function as part of the ideological state apparatus to reproduce bourgeois ideology. It is no shock that the result is that some are misled to believe that MLM = identity politics + armed struggle and militancy. Nothing could be further from the truth, but we must nonetheless examine this phenomenon in attempting to correct mistaken ideas.

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In the recent historical context of the US, the Marxist-Leninist movement has largely suffered from a workerist politics (itself a form of identity politics only centered around the Eurocentric conception of  workers as white men in factory jobs), failing to take seriously or properly analyze modes of oppression such as white supremacy and patriarchy. It was the sins of Eurocentricism, sexism, settlerism, and white supremacy that led so many self-identified Marxists from the previous era to a tendency of erasing oppressed groups from their analysis. None are worse about this than the Trots, left-coms, and assorted “orthodox” Marxists, who dogmatically cling to the past and draw from only a few select prophets for their so-called science.

MLM has sought to correct this failing, analyzing colonialism and the history of the United States and paying the special attention required to properly understand internal colonies, oppressed genders, and other oppressed groups. This nuance is immediately appealing to those who are recovering postmodernists: they gravitate to Maoism but have not yet mastered it as it is—as a method of analysis and guideline for action—and instead default to seeing MLM in the way that undialectical and idealist liberalism encourages us to see all ideologies: as a playbook or a set of positions that, if you generally adhere to them, you can call yourself a Maoist. We reject this principle and insist that to be a Maoist one must not only conceive of Maoism as a method of analysis but also put it into practice organizationally, and that only then should one claim to be a Maoist.

We should not, as some revisionists do, mechanically reject identity politics without any discussion. If postmodernism has been ushered into popularity on the wings of communist failure, then we must engage with these failures while simultaneously carefully trying to understand both the limitations of identity politics and the reasons for its popularity. To do this we must seek out the kernel of truth that is hidden within postmodernist identity politics.

One of the most common manifestations of identity politics is an analysis that identifies each mode of oppression as its own independently rooted system instead of correctly identifying that class oppression—driven by capitalism-imperialism’s need to exploit—is the root of all oppression. This sometimes tries and fails to correct itself with mechanisms like intersectionality that are still not rooted in a materialist class analysis. Anyone can see that oppressions intersect and overlap, but postmodernist theory cannot scientifically identify exactly why this happens, let alone what can be done about it.

The critical kernel of truth to grasp in such analyses is that class oppression frequently works through modes of oppression such as patriarchy and white supremacy, and that capitalism-imperialism as it exists in the world is continuously reproduced in the material conditions created by these oppressions. Still, it must be understood that class oppression is the principal oppression that drives the entire system. To put an end to all oppressions, class struggle must be kept as the key link, even as we understand other modes of oppression as aspects of how class oppression functions within capitalism-imperialism, as a means of making continuous exploitation possible. At the same time, these modes of oppression react back upon class oppression, mutating it further, constantly changing or updating  the bourgeois methods of coercion or gaining consent. One example is the way the ruling class has proudly noted that the commander of one of the two ships that recently launched missiles to strike a Syrian airbase is a woman. US imperialism itself has embraced identity politics and intersectionality as useful mechanisms to give itself cover in and attempt to gain the consent of the American people as it plunders and kills around the world.

All communists must recognize that those who are genuinely concerned with ending these oppressions must also become concerned with the overall project of human liberation, and even with their errors we must regard them as comrades and be patient, knowing that they are coming from a place of progressive desire and thus have revolutionary potential.

Identity opportunism’s manifestation in the “left”

This paper does not have the capacity to flesh out all the shortcomings in Marxism that gave prominence to the aforementioned errors but must aim to contend specifically with the ways in which postmodernism has polluted our current movements, and in which ways it comes into contradiction with the basic law that the masses make history and must be involved organically with the communist project.

“Identity politics” has become disdained in communist circles to the point where even some of the most opportunistic identity politicians will decry “identity politics” as a scourge. Much like the word “revisionism,” the phrase “identify politics” is often used in a haphazard way that promotes confusion instead of clarity. Since there are deadly real political-economic roots that have formed and continually reproduce each specific group of oppressed people, we must seek to run our organizations in such a way that oppressed groups are represented in the leadership of our movement. To do this we must formulate lines using the mass line method of leadership, which will draw forth the most advanced within the most oppressed sections of our society.

Yet the identity politics that is most often practiced is not a set of politics that comes from a consistent desire to struggle for liberation but instead an inconsistent, vulgar identity opportunism. The identity opportunist resorts to identity politics only when it is convenient for whatever agenda they hold at that time, whatever best accommodates their self-interested careerism or quest for the spotlight. Such narrowly self-interested behavior has long been seen as unprincipled and unacceptable by actual communists—however, identity opportunism, unlike most other forms of opportunism, frequently passes unchallenged by many genuine communists because of two sincere and understandable motives: a hesitancy in new supporters of communism due to their uncertainty about what a genuine Marxist analysis of oppression looks like, and a desire that is present even in more seasoned communists to avoid repeating the chauvinism of previous generations of Marxists. But identity opportunism also very commonly finds cover through a type of sycophancy that will be discussed later.

Identity opportunists might claim, for instance, that a whole collective of Chicano activists is controlled by one white man, or that they do not have to accept the leadership of a black woman due to the fact that she is allegedly brainwashed by men—using racist and patriarchal stereotypes, in total contradiction of what they preach. We have seen both of these in attacks from opportunists in the revisionist camp.

These identity opportunists exist inside of the communist movement but also surrounding it. Many of us have witnessed or heard of liberals discouraging direct action on the basis of the presence of undocumented people, even if it is many among the undocumented people themselves who are most interested in confrontational tactics. The simple fact is, revolution is what will benefit the most oppressed, so identity opportunism is often an excuse to avoid the militancy that is materially most beneficial for oppressed groups. In essence, like all opportunists, the identity opportunist does not actually care about anything but themselves and their own personal interests—to hell with the actual masses who face whatever oppression they sometimes express concern about.

Another harmful manifestation of identity opportunism is an insistence that white comrades who are militantly organizing face no state repression. This line—in essence a call to refuse support to any comrades facing a repression that these opportunists claim can’t exist—helps to serve such comrades up to the state. No one will deny that black and brown militants face harsher repression and even murder from the state. Understanding this, we must not twist privilege into the be-all, end-all and conclude incorrectly that the capitalist imperialist state will hesitate to kill and imprison communists from privileged groups who have materially become traitors to colonialism and white supremacy. The state, especially in its proto-fascist stages, does not and cannot give a pass to any genuine communist militants.

Maoism holds that there is objective truth, that there are correct and incorrect ideas, and that ideas that conform to reality most closely are the most correct while ideas that do not conform at all to the material reality of concrete conditions are incorrect. Meanwhile, identity opportunists readily prescribe one thing for themselves and another for everyone else. Their opportunism is so deep-rooted they will often fail to struggle against incorrect lines presented by oppressed-identity people—so long as it suits them.

Call-out culture is not principled criticism

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One of the worst aspects of the postmodernism in leftism is the twisting of the Maoist tool of criticism into call-out culture. Identity opportunists in particular will readily use Maoist language to dress up their counterrevolutionary concepts.

Where legitimate criticism comes from a genuine interest in what is best for the people and the people’s revolutionary advanced detachment, call-out culture rejects this principle and instead seeks to belittle and destroy others in order to gain private advantage. Where call-out culture often manifests in throwing shade, usually behind the back of the person being “criticized,” criticism in the Maoist sense is offered directly to the person being criticized. Call-out culture attacks individuals and not the ideas in their heads, seeking only scapegoats and not actual, nuanced explanations for shortcomings in the movement, and thus it relies on half-truths and lies.

Call-out culture is inherently bourgeois. Knowingly or not, the motivation behind call-out culture is personal advancement of the person making the call-out, seeking to demonstrate to everyone watching that they are advanced enough to identify errors in anyone and everyone and bold enough to offer total denunciation. Call-out culture is based on a subjectivism: individualism. It looks for targets instead of investigating reality in its full and difficult complexity, and so it jumps to conclusions and inevitably mistakes friends for enemies. The communist method of placing criticism is truly proletarian as it understands that the whole is greater than the part, the collective is greater than the individual, and the masses themselves are the real heroes. To overcome this subjectivism, one must have a good understanding of the dialectical relationship between theory and practice, as laid out by Mao in On Practice.

Point-scoring and bullying have no place in this movement and should be eradicated from our thinking. No one (communist or not) should be expected to unite with attacks against them even if they are dressed up as criticism. Such sham criticism should be rejected outright and used to expose the opportunistic motivation of the person placing it. In this way such unprincipled attacks only demarcate between revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries. Call-out culture is lazy, vindictive, and insipid and should be understood to be beneath the high moral standard that Maoists must aspire to.

Call-out culture is particularly endemic among those who have no political lives outside of social media. Their error is all the more sharp because there are no consequences without accountability to viable organizational structures, and there is no one to face up to for making criticisms that benefit no one but themselves (and, objectively, the state).

The vilest practitioners of call-out culture are unorganized wreckers who posture as or fancy themselves as leaders of the movement with an amount of arrogance that would be comical if it weren’t so destructive. Many such people believe that call-outs can actually materially isolate individuals—or even entire organizations—who may be in error. This is not how political isolation works. It must be understood that a decision to isolate is not to be taken lightly and cannot even be carried out without power—to isolate you must be able to confront and to enforce a verdict. When the enemy benefits more than the masses do from someone’s call-out, that person has failed the people and switched sides. The state loves nothing more than the Trotskys of the world denouncing the International Communist Movement while pretending they are part of it.

For people facing great difficulty trying to become organized where they are physically located—or, much more commonly, for those who refuse to try—spending a great deal of time on leftist social media is very common. And for people who pay so much attention to other leftists online, resorting to call-out culture is a persistent danger—because it is normalized, and because it is easier (in the short term) than remaining principled and going about things the right way. Here the right way means investigation, practice, and bonds of unity developed through struggle, all of which require patience, research, and painstaking commitment.

Pandering sycophants: Self-deprecation is not self-criticism

Most of us who have spent some time on leftist social media have witnessed white people, flocking around internet guerrillas fighting a holy war against perceived privilege, trying to score points with oppressed-nations people (or others who face oppression) by pandering to their every viewpoint to the point of becoming full-blown sycophants who no longer even bother to try to hold a political line of their own. Whether implicitly or explicitly, those doing this pandering have failed (or refused) to understand that although privilege exists along the lines of oppression, privilege and exploitation are two different things. Having made this mistake, they fear (or proudly announce) that they are in essence always and automatically the enemy. Whether due to sincere mistakes or gross opportunism, these people are afraid to disagree even on a principled basis with bad lines or mistaken ideas being put forward by their oppressed counterparts.

This is not what we encourage when we speak of the necessity of representation of oppressed groups in the leadership of our movement. It must be said loud and clear: pandering is racist (or sexist, etc.). It is an expression of chauvinist paternalism because it regards oppressed-group comrades as too fragile to confront their own mistaken ideas or challenge and correct their own errors. It denies the chance for serious corrections to be made by those being pandered to. In this mess, the correct line is never struggled out and the organization (or, more likely, online friend club) will stumble around in circles.

Maoism holds that there is a correct line and that it can only be found through struggle against incorrect ideas, incorrect ideas that every single person without exception will bring with them into the communist movement. These correct lines must also be systematically corrected, tested, and reformulated. Sycophants cannot struggle; they cannot be a useful part of any liberation movement, whether for national liberation or to end patriarchal oppression. They most often become accessories to petty-bourgeois ideology existing within oppressed groups. They have in essence abandoned the revolutionary project (and the revolutionary truth that one divides into two) in order to become what they see as good allies. But being a comrade means holding each other accountable, supporting each other, and criticizing each other when we make mistakes.

The flip side of the corruption of criticism into call-out culture is that self-criticism from sycophantic “good allies” becomes a self-deprecating act that is altogether performative. In the ranks of those who persist in believing that MLM = identity politics + armed struggle, self-criticism is most often nothing more than a halfhearted apology, self-deprecation, or a quick act of appeasement for anyone watching who lacks their own privileges.

They turn it into a hollow formality that is not only useless but actually harmful to the task of self-remolding. Performative self-criticism smuggles errors on to the next mistake or crisis. It might touch upon errors or even go into them for the sake of performance, but it does not offer any meaningful or lasting change. There is almost never a genuine dissection of themselves into two—in essence, it refuses rupture. Much as when drug addicts admit to their loved ones that they have a problem in order to get those people off their backs so they can continue using in peace, they have not truly admitted to themselves that they have lost control to drug use and do not yet rationally comprehend the extent of their addiction. Organizations and collectives must fight hard against performative self-criticism by exposing it consistently.

The nature of this society is rooted in capitalist exploitation, so the default attempts at self-criticism from untrained cadres will take on this performative character out of an assumed peer pressure and a social tendency of bad faith in the critic as well as a lack of faith in the process of criticism. People engaging in this error have sold themselves (and their comrades) short and will stay in the filth of narrow self-interest unless rupture with the bourgeois self takes place. Performative self-criticism is endemic among all identity opportunists and is not unique to the sycophants but is also often carried out by those they pander to.

True communist self-criticism always dissects the good from the bad, the bourgeois from the proletarian, the correct from the incorrect, and so on. Self-criticism relies totally on the laws of dialectical materialism, and for this reason it cannot be casually carried out in the absence of a theoretical perspective and most often requires organizational structure. This paper lacks the scope to fully explain the right way to carry out criticism and self-criticism, so in order to learn more we encourage our readers to closely study the book A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China and pay attention to the chapters “The party’s principles of the ‘three do’s and the three don’ts’,” “Party discipline,” and “The ‘three great styles of work’ are a fine tradition of our party.” This book has been made available in print by our supporters at our request so that it can serve as a training manual for all revolutionaries who wholeheartedly seek to make Maoism their guiding ideology.

Patronizing elitists and online professors of perfect discourse

Marxism does not require accolades from intellectuals indulging in some sort of benumbing exercise, that cannot augur well for the people mired in poverty and exploitation or the people facing imperialist onslaughts.”—Siraj

One persistent major error in the US “left”—one that is especially evident among those who call themselves communists but are not part of any group with an actual existence away from the internet—is a tendency to focus on word choices, splitting hairs instead of analyzing the actual substance of political line and content. These types of people compete to see who can say the wrong things in all the right ways, admonishing those who are not trained in their hyper-critical and elitist language rules. In practice this amounts to an ongoing condemnation of the masses, whose method of speaking and choice of words is often anathema to these online professors of perfect discourse.

To them ammunition can be found almost anywhere, and they make their perception the thing that determines reality, placing themselves at the center of things. Regardless of what they declare their intentions are, in political practice such people rarely encounter the masses, and their methods can only form insular cliques instead of establishing the many strong links with the masses necessary to build the party. God forbid anyone makes an error or becomes “problematic,” lest they be “isolated.” This is not the communist principle of serving the people; it mistakes common or popular language for material abuse and in the process drives the masses away from studying and learning revolutionary politics. The real tragedy is that these hair-splitters themselves have almost no grasp of the communist stand, worldview, and method, and yet they pose as authorities on how others should communicate and behave. This is uninviting and ugly behavior, undemocratic and counterrevolutionary. It can lead only to favoritism and bankrupt and self-serving competition in oppression Olympics.

A communist must pay attention to the content of someone’s communication and work to grasp the essence and not allow themselves kneejerk reactions or hair-splitting technicalities. A communist must regard the masses with faith and confidence, bringing them forward instead of pressing unrealistic and incoherent codes of conduct from above. Society is transformed by violent revolution against the economic base and is continuously transformed afterward by continued revolution in the superstructure in the form of cultural revolution. We have seen the backward brought up by world historic revolutions—for instance peasant men in China who promoted foot-binding ending up joining the Red Army. We are correct to assume that their methods of communication were also “problematic,” yet as communists the CCP did not write off or isolate the peasantry as a social base for revolution—if they had there would have been no revolution and the imperialists and capitalists would have prevailed far sooner. This hair-splitting inevitably treats the masses as enemies and fails to understand the relationship between culture and capitalism-imperialism. Whether they admit it or not, they act as though it is possible to transform society without armed struggle and without the participation of the masses. They do not seek unity and it is “not their job to educate” the masses. We have even seen some self-proclaimed communists asking to be paid before they would be willing to explain mechanisms of oppression to new supporters of communism. These running dogs have taken the capitalist road from the very beginning, instantly failing to be communists, never amounting to anything but elitist counterrevolutionaries.

The conclusion of the line of identity opportunism

Perhaps the worst crimes of identity opportunism lie in its expert ability to conceal itself and poison comrades against each other. It utilizes ultra-leftist methods to push forward rightist lines. Because of this, identity opportunism harms oppressed groups the most by opportunistically using their oppression for narrowly self-interested ends. What is in the interest of all oppressed people in the US is the simultaneous and concentric construction of the three instruments of revolution—the party, the people’s army, and the united front—and identity opportunism greatly harms and impedes this construction.

Rejection of discipline, making excuses, and calling those who try to help “abusive”

Identity opportunism, like all manifestations of postmodernism in the left, rejects communist discipline. Notions like “not policing the bodies of drug addicts or their choices to use” and “children can consent to sex” (actual arguments made by identity opportunists!) are all based on extreme individualism that has become fully reactionary. Communists are not libertines. We are not libertarians who place the individual above the collective—we place the collective, the party, and the masses above all. Because of this principle, we must submit to discipline, and we do not make excuses for indiscipline or seek to use identity to apologize for a lack of discipline. Even those of us with disabilities know well that we have to self-criticize when we make mistakes, that we cannot refuse to work to correct our errors because of our disability and hide from criticism the way identity opportunists persistently seek to do. We use our individual oppressions and lived experience to spur ourselves forward in the cause of liberation, never as an excuse to not do the work that all communists must do. We confront the enemy regularly and do not put our own self-interest above the interests of the masses.

Communist discipline is indispensable; it is one major aspect of the historical successes of the revolutionary project, and without it nothing could be accomplished. We are convinced through practice that anyone, regardless of ability, can raise their level of discipline. We seek to understand and transform society, not to become anti-social extremists who are unpalatable to the masses. We do not seek to act as if social interaction exists outside of the capitalist system. And to deal with the contradiction of living in and being influenced by a wretched world that we seek to completely transform, we rely mainly on discipline: we submit to the majority and the leadership of our organization. That being said, it must also be stated that the majority is not always correct just by being the majority. In many historical instances, a minority held the correct line; for instance, China and Albania were correct against the majority who submitted to modern revisionism. Even if the majority of collectives in our movement upheld the false principles of the identity opportunists (thankfully they do not), we would not give in or abandon our ideology—we would only struggle to correct the course and improve our discipline. Adherence to the values of democratic centralism serves our entire movement well—and by that same token, it is ludicrous to pretend we must submit to the leadership of random unorganized people. Doing so would be thoroughly rightist, yet people definitely do exist who, on the basis of identity politics, would make such a ridiculous demand.

The proletariat has nothing to gain from postmodernism and opportunism, so clear demarcations must be made in the unwavering service of the class.

On internet conduct

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Unlike comrades who walked the revolutionary road before us, we face the historically unique phenomenon of the internet and in particular the popularity of social media. There are a great number of complexities, but it is up to us to analyze this in its historical context and develop codes of principled online conduct.

Needless to say, for many reasons the internet breeds bad-faith engagement. It lacks the real and sharp consequences that would face wreckers on the ground (resistance and even immediate physical risk). And, more generally, because online it is very difficult to engage the people one encounters in a thoroughgoing and all-around way, online interactions very often take on a shallow, make-believe, lighter-than-air character. These conditions have been fertile ground for identity opportunists and other charlatans who seek the limelight. There is no shortage of megalomaniacal YouTube “Maoists” to demonstrate this. Many social media accounts are nothing but “sock puppets” of individuals seeking amusement or shallow praise, and all too often self-declared communists organizers are in reality neither communists or organizers. So many people online feed on the circus of online debates and gleefully await the next round of vicious drama. In the past they might have contented themselves with teen dramas or soap operas, but today they are into actively stirring up internet drama. The US more than any other country has a major problem with these types, and the only way to neutralize them is to not take them seriously, to never entertain them, and to set higher standards for placing and receiving criticism—in short to not stoop to their level of toxic interaction and bad-faith mudslinging, reckless labeling, and so on.

We do not get to take either ultra-left or rightist approaches when it comes to the internet, nor do we get to ignore the fact that the masses themselves use social media, and that plenty of people discover communist politics in online spaces—we just have to contend with this terrain with dignity and in a principled and productive way. In seeking to not undervalue the role the internet plays, we must not overvalue it either. Many seem to engage in either overemphasis or near-total avoidance with no balance between the two. Inactive Facebook pages belonging to self-declared “collectives” and even “parties” do not accurately represent organizational capability and should not be confused with real communist organizations. What’s more, a lack of internet presence does not indicate a lack of practical activity. Many of our cadres do not use social media at all, yet they are expected (by lots of those who do) to be abreast of all the recent internet drama, and in some cases we have been criticized for not submitting to the requests of people we do not know. A lot of so-called leftists who seem to exist only on Facebook have fancied themselves to be something like the Comintern! They see themselves as beyond needing the democratic centralism of any actual organization and think their subjectivist analysis made from a distance is the be-all, end-all verdict on issues materially affecting organizations. Coaching from the bleachers is nothing new and it is not unique to the internet—nonetheless these overinflated egos must not be encouraged in our movement. Anyone can find three Facebook friends, start a group chat or Google hang outs, and call it a collective—but this does not constitute a legitimate and real organization with mass links, and no matter how many online arguments one gets into, materially one still will not be serving the people.

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On a similar note, it should be said that even for well-meaning individuals who come to communism mainly through the internet, it is easy enough to accidentally deceive oneself into thinking that the small sample of people one encounters online can reveal something about the broad masses. For instance, one may start to think that the masses of working people are already very familiar with communism, or (if one encounters many reactionaries) that they are all already dead-set against communism. In truth, there is no way at all to meaningfully grasp the realities of what the working-class people in one’s own locality want, think, and care about without going among them and uniting with them. An even greater risk—one that is more obvious and more difficult to justify, but one that seems to trap just as many people—is the belief that in order to be a communist, it is enough to simply sit on the internet, making memes or call-out posts. But to be very clear, as Mao says in Combat Liberalism, one cannot call oneself a communist unless one looks upon the interests of the revolution as their very life and subordinates their personal interests to those of the revolution. To be a communist requires unimaginably more than following one’s own whims on leftist social media.

While social media can be a trench of struggle, it is not to be confused for anything near the most important one. Social media chats, Google hangouts, and message boards are not places where real communist revolutionaries discuss organizing—we have more secure methods of communication, and comrades who are confused on this point will have difficulty handling technology responsibly, and would put themselves at great risk from the state should they actually accomplish any radical work.

On the subject of security, many would-be communists who spend a lot of time on social media should think carefully before sharing their personal information in ways that are very normalized online, even among the working-class masses. Many well-intentioned comrades are putting themselves at risk of being harassed, doxxed, or worse by fascists because of how loose they are with identifying and personal information of all kinds. It is astonishing and yet commonplace how many people—despite having many people on their friends lists whom they do not know personally—frequently post up-to-date pictures of themselves, provide information about places they frequent, and even offer up intimate psychological and emotional details that fascists (and the state) could easily make use of to manipulate them. To make matters worse these same people tend to openly discuss which organizations they are part of or worse yet who else belongs to other organizations. This only shows the limitations of their own experiences and the low level of development of their “organizations.” If they wrongly feel no threat from the state or its growing fascist supporters, then it would seem they have no interest in becoming an actual threat to this oppressive system.

Postmodernist academia has without a doubt infected online spaces and social media, and it has brought with it the primary mandate of bourgeois academia to present “interesting takes” or “new” frameworks—an institutional mandate that is not based on scientifically struggling to change the world, but instead on social climbing and the profit motive. No matter how “interesting” these approaches may be, they lose all credibility when put into practice, and in truth they are toothless concoctions of bad ideas strung together to look like something radical and new. Old ideas must always re-dress themselves, but underneath, these “new” paradigms are always just more bourgeois bullshit.

There is nothing inherently wrong with turning to the internet for social and political interaction, and we understand the many ways that online interaction can be helpful, so we are far from decrying all interactions on social media. But we seek better ways to utilize it that can benefit the people—and not just boost the egos of individuals trying to build personal brands, competing with each other over the small pool of easily impressed admirers. The online following of our social media accounts and our blog are due completely to our-on-the ground work and our theorization of this work.

By that same token, those who spend a great deal of time on social media should bring a profound skepticism to the hyper-individualistic culture that is normalized in these spaces. By no accident whatsoever, social media corporations and their supporters constantly propagate a culture that encourages users to look for shallow idiosyncrasies about themselves to polish up and turn into a spectacle, to seek approval from people they often barely know. This habitual and compulsive narcissism is completely toxic to a life oriented toward and in service of the broad masses.

In an even greater hazard, among many self-identified leftists online, there is a culture of mutually offering uncritical praise and comfort among people who cannot possibly actually know in a substantive fashion what is going on in each other’s lives. This practice is completely corrosive to the genuine communist method—if we are making errors, we should seek to understand them and struggle to change them, not to fool ourselves thoroughly enough that we can be placated by distant acquaintances.

Once one has realized that capitalism is nothing but decadent and poisonous and that communism is a necessity, it is natural and understandable that one would seek others who understand this with whom one can vent and share frustrations—especially if the only ideologies one encounters in one’s life away from the internet are liberalism and reaction. However, the communist movement is not a subculture, and in fact to treat it principally as an escape is to pervert it into its opposite. Marxism is not a collection of comforting cultural touchstones for people who have become enlightened—it is and has always been about embracing struggle. Capitalism is an intense force for commodification, and just as it made Che Guevara t-shirts in the past (both to promote a mythic symbol of revisionism as well as to rip away the revolutionary aspects of Che himself), it now makes what might be called “communism-themed” meme groups that are, paradoxically, full of people sheltering themselves from the broad masses. This widespread phenomenon should be criticized sharply.

This is not to say that there is no room for humor or even memes about the communist movement. In fact, just as fascism has spread in part because of the propagation of alt-right memes, people have also been led toward Marxism through first encountering communist memes. How can we handle this contradiction—what sort of communist memes are helpful? They are helpful if they consciously attract people toward communism without trivializing it or downplaying what it means to be a communist; if they provide recuperation and validation to comrades engaging in difficult and necessary political work; and if they promote proletarian culture and reveal the atrocities, degeneration, and hypocrisies of the bourgeoisie and their faithful servants. But to give too much effort, seriousness, and legitimacy to the project of making memes is not beneficial.

We have been justly criticized by comrades and enemies alike for having members and supporters who were too antagonistic with people on social media, and we have taken those criticisms and have ceased all such behavior and now seek in-person contact for settling disputes and carrying out struggle, or other means when in-person contact is not possible. We no longer operate in the echo chambers of “Leftbook.” We do not entertain the endless speculation and nitpicking that passes for politics on websites like Tumblr any more than we entertain the viewpoints of right-wing trolls on sites like reddit. Facebook is not where serious issues in an organizational sense will be hashed out, and our membership no longer enters into petty arguments with do-nothing internet intellectuals.

In cases where we have been unfair with genuine comrades and painted them with the same brush as we did bad elements, our members have self-criticized to them directly and tried to make amends, and in the future we will proceed humbly and with better faith. It must also be understood that as a collective that is very active in material struggles in the streets of Austin, we do not have the time to respond to every single critical comment or attack made by individuals on Facebook. This is not because we do not care about what people think of us, but it is outright impossible to engage with every single person on an individual level the way we do with people who have organized themselves into legitimate collectives. By that same token, we also cannot pretend that collectives that have not managed to get organized and carry out sustained principled work deserve our immediate attention. Struggles for unity must take place around practical activity and mass work, not the occasional action or attending of random demonstrations, and certainly not around a carefully constructed online presence.

Identity opportunism propagates itself primarily via the internet and finds its primary trench in online spaces; its “support base” is people who seldom organize among the masses and have all the time in the world for internet feuds. Identity opportunism likes to hear its own cries of outrage echoed back to it from faint-of-heart online followers. Fortunately, many of these types cannot muster a crowd to save their lives and so they should be understood for what they are: people who say substanceless nothings just to hear themselves speak. The masses do smell the shit that these charlatans spread as “communism” and they will never want anything to do with it. We aim to continue using social media to propagate our work and hold that one should not be propagating without work to back it up. Strategy and lines must be formulated from actual practice, and overvaluing whatever one happens to encounter on social media in this regard is disastrous.

While identity opportunism is rooted in postmodernism, we must also note that postmodernism itself is not in stasis. Nonetheless, it cannot surpass its own roots in metaphysics. Maoism, as a Marxist and materialist science, stands resolutely opposed to metaphysics and must not be allowed to degenerate into any formula espoused by postmodernism. Identity politics in both its well-intentioned and opportunist forms must be guarded against, and Maoists must seek to unify the broad masses around the goal of taking power for the class. Any project or analysis that claims to do this without interest in the well-being of the broad masses must be clearly exposed as fraudulent and reactionary.

Build the party on the firm basis of a materialist analysis!

Expose opportunists and reject postmodernist charlatans!

—Red Guards Austin, 2017

Urgent Support Needed for the Rebels in Pittsburgh

March 20th Rebellion at Allegheny Jail, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

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On March 18th, prisoners at Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania began a sit-in. Eighty prisoners took part in the action to demand more case workers, better medical services, and a legitimate grievance procedure. Monday March 20th, masked demonstrators converged on the jail in solidarity with those protesting inside and smashed windows of the jail, a security camera, and several police vehicles. The action was broken up after police arrested eleven protesters. Indiscriminately slapping felony charges on anyone they could get their hands on. When the police attack our comrades they have every right to rebel, to fight back and to hold firm to the principles which put us in direct conflict with torture chambers like Allegheny Jail. These comrades in solidarity with the prisoners did not fear entering into the belly of the beast and now we all must bravely defend them. Their charges include multiple trumped up felonies including conspiracy, rioting, possessing tools of a crime including fucking ball caps and black clothing. The bourgeois media wasted no time at all in posting identities to destroy the lives of the activists arrested, attempting to sentence them in the readers mind before trial, attempting to portray the rebels as drug fueled maniacs. The arrested includes some of our close comrades and supporters—revolutionaries committed to living in service of the people. While Social Democrats balked in the face of oppression and in traditional fashion ran to protect themselves only, the revolutionary section of Maoist and anarchist comrades showed great courage in confronting the pig system.

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Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) confines more than 2,500 people, and its population has increased by 70% in the last two decades. ACJ has a long history of abuse and was the subject of a 2010 FBI investigation that found officials there were covering up abuse of prisoners. Health conditions at the jail are also notoriously bad; eleven people died while incarcerated at ACJ in just 2014 and 2015. On March 21st revolutionary communists and anarchists in Pittsburgh converged on ACJ to stand in solidarity with those prisoners, pushing the chant of: “brick by brick, wall by wall, every prison has got to fall!” A day after, the capitalist press was crying over broken windows, as if these windows had families and loved ones – much like the inmates who face daily mental and physical torture do. The system knows there wouldn’t be broken windows if there wasn’t the violence and trauma, in the form of rape, the withholding of medical care, harassment by guards, and the deafening anomie of boredom, that comes with being locked up in the cramped urine-soaked dungeon cells of this capitalist-imperialist prison system. During the march several were arrested on multiple trumped-up felony charges. Every single person arrested, upon arriving into ACJ, were locked in the small processing cells for 23 to 24 hours, and with no mattress or blanket to boot. With only dirty floors and small metal shelves to sleep on, one comrade went a whole day and night, sleep deprived, without anticonvulsants for their seizure disorder. The enemy should be afraid and are correct in treating us as dangerous. They show how fearful they are when they do, because they know when they take one of us, we always gain one more. But this does not happen without us moving, nor does it happen without creating a safety-net for those who are arrested. If they want to frighten us with the prospect of decades-long jail time on the basis of extremely flimsy evidence, they should know they’ll face a flood of moral and material support. We call upon all our supporters to help assist in raising funds for our arrested comrades, if you wish in your heart to physically smash every cop car and every prison then donate a few dollars to those arrested and accused of such rebellion. Defend the Allegheny rebels! In Austin we have a firm principle of jail support for our abducted rebels, we stand in utmost solidarity with the comrades in Pittsburgh some of whom we have enjoyed close camaraderie with, who have spent tireless hours in support of the proletarian revolutionary cause. These charges are severe and some have 4 felonies each if we do not come through for these comrades they will face long term prison sentences, which will only serve to crush rebellion in its infancy. In the conditions of growing fascism of Trumps USA these arrests much like the hundreds of arrests around  J20 are nothing short of raw state repression to beat fear into the hearts of the people—hearts which right now cry out for REBELLION.

 “When the prison doors open the real dragon will fly out!”  – Ho Chi Minh

 

For more information:

https://itsgoingdown.org/rebellion-inside-outside-allegheny-county-jail-pittsburgh/

Please donate here:

https://fundrazr.com/81Do78?ref=ab_16Szs4

Red Guards Austin March 2017

International Working Women’s Day 2017

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Women Militants of the PCP at Canto Grande prison 

Red is the East, Rises the Sun

One month after the death of Mao Zedong the revisionists, rightists, stuffed shirts, and bureaucrats led by Deng Xiaoping waged a coup within the Chinese Communist Party. The focus of their attack was the revolutionary headquarters led by Zhang Chunqiao and Jiang Qing, two of Mao’s closest comrades, the latter being Mao’s wife. Comrade Jiang, one of the unsung heroes of world revolution, was a fundamental leader in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) where she focused on the realm of art, theater, and opera. Imagine your revolution bestowed upon you the power to change things, to obliterate misogyny from the billboards, televisions, and advertisements, imagine all your favorite films with the sexism and bourgeois values removed; now you begin to recognize the importance of Jiang’s cultural work. However Comrade Jiang was not limited to the cultural sphere. In her days leading in the GPCR she would make many important interventions in support of revolutionary workers and against bad ideas like bloodline theory (born “red”, born “white”) held among some of the Red Guards.

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Comrade Jiang Qing with Chairman Mao

For her loyalty to Chairman Mao and for her commitment to making revolution Jiang was arrested and tried in the highest courts—the revisionists wanted blood and they would not stop until the revolution was crushed. Jiang remained defiant: she proclaimed loudly before the world that “Making revolution is no crime”. When threatened with execution she did not fear death and was prepared to die for the proletarian revolutionary cause, stating “let the monkey king give you more heads to chop off”. While the revisionists craved to destroy and degrade the name of Chairman Mao they knew they had to carry out this great reversal of the revolution under Chairman Mao’s name or else the masses would have wasted no time smashing the revisionists in memory of their great helmsman. Jiang reiterated this point by stating that “you are trying to destroy me because you know you can never destroy Chairman Mao”, and before the masses, when the revisionists demanded she yield, her response was only “it is more glorious to have my head chopped off”. Defiant and a rebel to the finish Jiang embodied the principles of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. She was already in the spirit of what would emerge later as Maoism proper, or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, which sees Cultural Revolution not only as universal but essential to the success of the communist project as armed struggle. LONG LIVE COMRADE JIANG QING PRESENTE!

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poster of Comrade Jiang promoting cultural work

The Architect of the People’s War in Peru

Many comrades will invoke the name Gonzalo and but know far less the name La Torre. Augusta La Torre, or Comrade Norah, was a founder of the Movimiento Feminino Popular and coauthor in 1975 of the masterpiece “Marxism Mariategui and the Women’s Movement”, a text which more than any other lays out the foundation for a revolutionary and proletarian feminism. Norah would go on to be the second in command of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP). Chairman Gonzalo in the early days was supported and encouraged by Comrade Norah to launch the People’s War and some claim that Norah held a more firm line on developing armed struggle than Gonzalo did in the period leading up to the people’s war. The first guerrilla attack of the PCP in 1980 was led by comrade Norah after which she went underground to the countryside. The Peruvian People’s War led by the Communist Party of Peru is unlike any other revolution largely because of Norah. The PCP alone claimed the large participation of women from its inception, the burning of the ballots which signaled the start of the Protracted People’s War in 1980 was initiated and carried out by a team of women with only one man. Unlike any other Communist Party before and since the PCP’s central committee hosted a women’s majority. Many of the important branches of the Party were filled by women including the metropolitan Lima Command, at one point run from a women’s prison, which carried out urban assassinations.

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Chairman Gonzalo and Comrade Norah leaders of the PCP

Comrade Norah gave her life to the revolution and to the people even while born to a wealthy, left-wing, land owning family. Norah, as well as her brother, mother, and father were all faithful to the cause of the Party founded by Gonzalo and Norah. The La Torre family would sacrifice everything to the cause of the revolution and Norah died underground in November of 1988. Instrumental to the revolution in Peru which would give birth to our ideology Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Comrade Norah is one of our most beloved martyrs and heroines. LONG LIVE COMRADE NORAH PRESENTE!

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Honor and glory to Comrade Norah at her funeral service 

The Martyred Soldier 

Edith Lagos was 19 years old when she was martyred by the Peruvian state on September 2, 1982. 30,000 people would march in her procession.  Those 30,000 people constituted approximately 45 percent of the population of Ayacucho, even though the government had declared it illegal to attend her funeral. What would compel such a turn out? For starters the death of Comrade Edith shows fully how much the masses of people beloved the Communist Party of Peru. Edith had one of the first major criminal cases of any party member and she was known and admired for beating the charges thanks to a team of lawyers who were also supporters of the revolution.

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Guerrilla leader Comrade Edith Lagos 

Comrade Edith would go on to lead important actions like the attack on the Ayacucho jail in which she blew a hole into the wall and liberated all of the prisoners, including her captured comrades. In the attack the rebel guerrillas led by Comrade Edith captured many weapons. The capture of weapons was the backbone of the early days of the Protracted People’s War which was started by women with dynamite and not by militarily trained men with high-tech weaponry. In this process we see the reverse of the bourgeois model of warfare which promotes a sexist and anti-people ideology that is reliant on insuring the backward social norms of imperialism. The People’s Guerrilla Army on the other hand transformed the masses into soldiers and transformed their unarmed ranks into a mighty force that within a decade brought the government to the brink of defeat. This was in no small part due to the efforts of women soldiers and leaders like Comrade Edith.

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Funeral procession for comrade Edith 

Edith would be captured and bayoneted to death by the state and the world would lose another freedom fighter who at only 19 had made immortal contributions to world revolution. She lives in our hearts as an example of what it really means to be a soldier. LONG LIVE COMRADE EDITH PRESENTE!

On This Day

On this day we wish to take time to honor our fallen women comrades. These are only three of our tradition’s finest and there are many more whose names were never recorded due to the persisting patriarchy within revolutionary and leftist movements. We must also take this moment to honor the women comrades who command our organizations and populate them. Red Guards Austin especially owes a debt of respect to working women on this day as an organization with a minority of men. We understand the pressing need for women’s war. To all working class women and to all women comrades, we salute you!

Long Live International Working Women’s Day!

Red Salute!

Red Guards Austin

 

Throwing Light

Observations on the role of communists in the antifascist movement

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Without theory, structured organizations, and a guiding ideology practice is doomed to grope in the dark. 

We must be resolutely done with groping in the dark. The world is moving fast around us and the concrete conditions produced by the decline of US imperialism and the rise of Trump have provided fertile ground for real fascism. Fascism is the far-right open terrorist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in which all pretense of democracy has been abolished, and a fascist is anyone who ideologically supports or works towards these conditions in any capacity. To combat fascism most effectively in the present conditions we must break with several old ideas. This article is intended to generate discussion around that process or better yet to set it into motion.

Recently the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (PCR-RCP) released a short, useful article which exposes both the good and the bad of what is commonly called “Antifa”, read the article here: A Brief History and Assessment of Antifa Organizing

While there is no need to repeat the article, there is use in building on some of what this article is getting at. It begins by tracing some history of the first group called “Antifascist Action”, commonly abbreviated to Antifa. Antifa was called forth in 1932 by the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), at that time led by Ernst Thälmann, a committed Marxist-Leninist. In spite of its firmly proletarian and communist origins, Antifa today, in the US, is mostly associated with anarchists and their methods of organizing (some even go so far as to use the anticommunist iconography of three arrows in place of the original red flags logo).antifaschische-aktion-konferenz2-kopi

Since its beginning being crushed in 1933 by the Nazis, Antifa has now lost its party connections and has suffered greatly, becoming more a set of tactical decisions, general attitude, or orientation than an effective proletarian revolutionary organization. As the PCR-RCP point out, a low level of unity is all that is required for street fighting against Nazis in what amounts to an endless game of whack-a-mole. What is needed for defeating the fascists and preventing their conquering of state power is a higher level of organization (which necessarily requires a high level of unity); nothing short of a revolutionary vanguard, which can only be realized in the form of the Communist Party. The fact remains that the tactics employed by Antifa today can only bust up the lower level fascists and it cannot touch the ones already sitting in office. When it comes to street brawls and small scale property destruction no one can deny the anarchists their due respect. By the same token, when it comes to killing the fascists in their millions, that honor goes only to communists.

So what are the short comings of the dominance of anarchist tactics regarding anti-fascism? For starters anarchists in the imperialist centers tend to resist being defined; they refuse to admit any continuity unless it benefits their small project directly. This has resulted in a sort of default opportunism which essentially frames any self-critical assessment of the failures in our movement as “sectarian”, and no doubt a few will classify this article as sectarian too. Fascism is on the incline and if we do not honestly asses our failures in combating it then we have little hope of winning. Secondly anarchism promotes (when convenient) practice divorced from theoretical struggle, an over emphasis on action—“less talking more smashing”. This is a ploy to avoid addressing the first error and its volunteerism. Thirdly anarchism (in most manifestations) cannot establish the structures needed to support an ongoing revolutionary project, this condemns it to hop from movement to movement, or be a purely responsive ideology. It responds to fascist activity as “Antifa” but it does not sustain regular work which acts independently of the fascists’ activity. It gets things only half-right, half the time. All three of these types of errors have negatively affected and limited antifascist work. These errors are not exclusive to anarchism and are found among other sections of the left as well.  Antifascism is only a starting point, being antifascist naturally means being pro-people and pro-working class. Antifascism is one front, albeit a critical one, it is not a single platform, and when taken as one it can only be reactive and not proactive.

There should be demarcations drawn between anarchism and liberalism but it must be understood that both have affected Antifa work negatively in the past. While anarchism is not liberalism, the latter being a bourgeois ideology, liberalism has certainly infected the former due to the inherent individualism of anarchism.

As Comrade Stalin pointed out: “We are not the kind of people who, when the word ‘anarchism’ is mentioned, turn away contemptuously and say with a supercilious wave of the hand: ‘Why waste time on that, it’s not worth talking about!’ We think that such cheap ‘criticism’ is undignified and useless.”

We must come to see Antifa and the anarchist influence within it as both good and bad at the same time. While this influence promotes a “leaderless” horizontal model it also rejects engaging in reformism. Failing to engage in reformism itself has a positive and negative aspect—it is great that anarchists reject the behavior of trots and social democrats and do not chase reforms, but if they do not build for revolution they are accomplishing as little as the reformists are. Nonetheless the appeal of anarchism is in the short term, the fact that it has, in contrast to most “communist” organizations, embodied the spirit of rebellion. If anyone is asked to choose between voting La Riva-Sawant-Moorhead etc. or smashing out a Starbucks-Gap-Bank of America window and hitting a Nazi with a bat then they should certainly not choose the voting option.  In the context of what anarchists promote as a practical activity and what revisionists promote it is no wonder why anarchism has so much appeal among the youth, especially as an entry-level radical politics. It is for this reason that many Maoists in the US began in the traditions of anarchism—because they were looking for rebellion and through rebelling (practice) developed better ideas (theory) and became proletarian revolutionaries in that process.

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It should be clear that communists should continue doing antifascist work alongside anarchists and we should work together everywhere possible. What communists should not do is succumb to the phony “leaderlessness” prescribed by anarchists, which can develop with the help of liberalism into anti-communism. Communists must not tail behind in the antifascist movement; the people cannot afford for us to fail.

Communist organizing brings something different to antifascism, even on the small scale, by respecting the role of democracy in conjunction with centralism: dialectically understanding democracy and centralism as a unity of opposites. This understanding is not only more efficient, it offers far greater security and correctly insures the life of the collective above the expressions of the individual. This method of organizing collectives and cells offers a lot in terms of quick response and intelligence gathering.

Communist organizing, by rejecting bourgeois individualism, understands the role of the masses in antifascist work. This rejects the type of conspiratorial activity that sees the exceptional few making all the difference. It also correctly grasps the influence of bourgeois society on the masses and deals with how to bring the masses up ideologically to better break from the limitations of immediate self-interest. Communists rely on the masses while leading through them with methods like the mass line.

With stronger networks and firmer discipline focused on a comprehensive strategy to defeat fascism in the context of the simultaneous construction of the three indispensable weapons of Maoism (the Communist Party, the People’s Army, and the United Front), we will see a rise in controlled, militant antifascist organizing in the US. Within these three weapons anarchists are most certainly part of the United Front, but as with progressive sections of the petty bourgeois they should not be tailed behind and communist leadership should be won in every single battle. Because antifascism is itself a unity of opposites; while we unite with anarchists we must also struggle against them.

While it is correct to shut down and confront every attempt of fascists to publicly organize, it must not stop there and conditions must be taken into account. It is not acceptable for fascists to exist even if they hide underground and never march in public—they must be hunted down and weeded out. Their lives must become unbearable and even as individuals they should be hounded to the ends of the earth. Much of Antifa organizing has limited the focus to only confronting public displays of fascism and in the process allows them reprieve when they are not organizing.

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There is also an underdevelopment which shows itself in the US Antifa movement and we see this in the context of PR victories for the fascists. When the KKK or Traditionalist Workers Party stab people it is a victory for them—none of the fascists suffered the kind of wounds that the Antifa comrades suffered, despite the fact that the fascists were drastically outnumbered.  This speaks to the fact that while our antifascist united fronts can call out numbers, the quality of our forces is still too low to decisively defeat even a small number of violent fascists. This could be due to many factors including a low level of unity, a low level of ideological development among the comrades on the ground, inexperience, or lack of resolve to risk prison and do violence. No matter the reason we must self-critically reflect and see where we can strengthen our local united front efforts against fascism. If the fascists go to knives or guns, we must be prepared to be the ones stabbing and shooting and avoiding being stabbed and shot. This means when antifascists outnumber fascists (like they did in both Sacramento and Anaheim) the initiative to fight them to the finish is not passed up.

Guerrilla tactics must be applied in antifascist work: when they outnumber us we should run away and when we outnumber them we should fuck them up—inflict more damage and more casualties on them than they can on us. According to Chairman Mao: “employ the tactics of avoiding strength and striking at weakness, of flitting about and having no fixed position, and of subduing the enemy according to circumstances, and when we do not oppose the enemy according to the ordinary rules of tactics, this is called employing guerrilla tactics.” He also explains, “if we really want to kill and exterminate the enemy there are weapons for us everywhere and work for us to be doing at all times in order for us to insure effective and united action…” “…for example, a kitchen knife, a wooden cudgel, an axe, a hoe, a wooden stool can all be used to kill people. Such actions as cutting electrical lines, destroying bridges, staring rumors, spreading poison or cutting off supplies can everywhere inconvenience the enemy or reduce his fighting strength.” While these examples given might not be desirable or immediately available to us in our present conditions, there is a universal truth in the creativity and conscious application of these tactics as principles. They should inform our orientation towards antifascist work.

Fascism should be attacked on all fronts; it should be hit culturally, economically, and physically. Artists and musicians must be called upon to create and promote antifascists works. Every bit of culture that intrinsically opposes fascism should be promoted and cherished. Culture itself is a battlefield and the fascist is well aware of this and uses subculture and counterculture to gain dejected recruits from vulnerable sections of the oppressor nation and even ideological compradors from the oppressed nations. Hard lines must be drawn against those who promote fascism culturally but who might not be fascists themselves—flirting with fascism should always come at a cost. Economically fascists should be targeted with acts of property destruction, sabotage of their jobs, and exposure to their community. Their funds must be discovered and cut off. If a business (for example, Blue Cat Café) has a noted financial connection to fascists then it should be targeted with boycotts and other activity which force it to close down. Physical confrontations must be consciously planned and care must be taken to avoid hitting the wrong targets. Self-defense must remain at the forefront of all antifascist activity.

In all of this we should keep in mind who our friends and who our enemies are, and we should not settle for inactivity or liberal solutions. There is always something you can do wherever you are to combat fascism. What Comrade Stalin expressed perfectly in 1924 holds true to this day, “In the present situation, ‘pacifism’ is the strengthening of fascism with its moderate, Social-Democratic wing pushed into the forefront.” While Stalin was speaking of the policy of some bourgeois governments in the post WWI period, we can understand this to mean that a passive stance should be struggled against in all fronts and the participation of the masses must be consciously sought. Understanding that the tactics of reformists, liberals, social democrats, and Trotskyists serve as a left-wing for fascism as they use redbaiting and other tricks to try and expose or discredit communist organizers and organizations. It has been seen in Austin multiple times that liberals will be fast to defend fascists physically while serving communists and anarchists up to the police.

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With better organizing and tactics antifascism will outmaneuver the enemy and organize among the broad masses of people real resistance to not only the run-of-the-mill white supremacists gangs and organizations but against the system itself which is now germinating fascism from its highest offices. Antifascism has already demanded a shift in tactics, from loose street fighting to organizing against ICE, the creation of safe houses, and other anti-state activity. This type of activity should be coming from revolutionaries who are the best fit to lead the masses. It is with revolutionary optimism that we throw light in dark times. The road is hard for sure but we proceed with militant energy and steadfast commitment.

Everything for the masses!

Red Guards Austin 2017

In memory of all our friends gunned down by the pigs………….

This is a guest article from a supporter who was a friend of the deceased. morgan

Morgan Rankins was murdered in by the Austin Police Department Feb 22nd 2017. Her name is added to a list of martyrs who will live forever in our hearts. While the pigs will dust of their PR spokesman to call this a tragic case of mental illness alone,  it was more than that. We all know damn well that if this were a white girl Morgan’s age who lived in Westlake, this would have all been different. We wouldn’t be inscribing another name of another dead friend into our heavy hearts, we might be laughing or listening  to music. But  we are not doing that, Morgan was a black woman.  She made no apologies for that and for that fact the police wasted no time and killed her cold. When I was attacked by the pigs and injured she showed support and had my back. Morgan knew the police could kill her for being black, she knew why we take to the streets in a combination of mourning and anger. She knew the need for a revolution.  There is mental illness and a lack of training no one should deny this, what else can we say? We can say this;

We can say that you cannot train a police department to not be racist; racism is as American as apple pie and part of the foundation and fabric of this society. We can attest to the fact that the body cameras do not stop the pigs from beating us and in this case killing one of us. We all remember Sandra Bland who was killed while in custody – her name resounds from coast to coast. Morgan’s name should too, because the pigs used six shots to kill her. One, two, three, four, five, six….  APD mental health professionals prescribed her six rounds. They will say she was crazy or dangerous. Anyone who knew her knows the truth she was kind compassionate and vivid. She prayed for a better world a world where people like us with “mental health issues” do not fall through the cracks, a world where we are held up to the light.

Her death was no accident, not happenstance. She lived and died in a racist capitalist system which criminalizes black women and denies health dangling it like a carrot from up high. Austin tosses away people like Morgan on the fucking daily. It prices them out makes them wait months on end for treatment and worst of all America not just Austin sees women like Morgan as a threat. On this point America is right, because it will be black women like Morgan who drive the coffin nail into this hideous system for all its crimes past and present. America was never great; it was founded on slavery and genocide and maintains its death grip over the world on those terms. Black women have a world to win, starting with the death of America as we know it. America is racist and hateful and empty inside, it knows to fear the strength, pride and determination of women like Morgan, who love their people, their class and their friends and families.

The only way to show you love someone in a system like this is to keep fighting. When they kill our friends keep fighting, when they jail us beat us and break our bones just keep fucking fighting. All you reading this better start fighting. You better start fighting because they have been waging a war on you since 1492. When the pig apologists and professional non-profit snitch bastards want to tell you that she wouldn’t have wanted you taking to the streets you can tell em they are liars because she would. In times like these in loving memory can only mean fighting.  So for Morgan I’ll go on fighting without regrets, the holes in our hearts will get bigger as pigs across the US take more of our friends and loved ones, as their trained officers pull guns on children like they just did in Anaheim, or gun them down like they did David Joseph. Now we add the name Morgan Rankins to the long list of names we chant at protests, let her name clap like fucking thunder against this pig system bringing it down like the walls of Jericho. Here is to you my friend, from one “crazy person” to another. We all we got, so bless up.